Eating disorders are serious psychiatric disorders, which usually have their onset in adolescence. Body dissatisfaction and dieting, both common among adolescents, are recognised risk factors for eating disorders. Common causes are gender, conflict, control issues, social norms inside and outside the family.
All these aspects must be considered when overcoming eating disorders.
The therapeutic approach focuses on the role of dysfunctional cognitions (errant thinking). These take the form of automatic thoughts and distorted core believes. Cognitive restructuring is effective in overcoming an eating disorderaddresses these cognitions. This involves the following:
Learning to understand that “automatic thoughts” are automatic, frequent , and influence mood and behaviour. An example is “If I cannot control my eating disorder, I am a complete failure.”
Learning to challenging these thoughts and replacing them with more helpful ones. For example asking questions such as "What evidence do you have to support your thoughts?” and “How would someone else view this situation?”
Learning to understand the concept of core believes, which refers to deeper layers of thinking around themes such as control, perfectionism, self indulgence, and guilt.
Learning that core believes are learned over time and everyone has the ability to develop a new perspective and change our believes.
Eating disorders are often linked to weight perception and dieting. A common underlying theme is an incorrect weight perception in females and this is widely associated with depressive symptoms, social anxiety, low self-esteem. Eating disorders in males are more commonly associated with an incorrect perception of being underweight and social anxiety.
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